by disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada
© Syamarani dasi. Used with permission
[The following passages from “Four Vaisnava Acaryas and Gaudiya Darsana”, published by Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, illuminate, through the interaction between Prahlada and Hiranyakasipu, the potency of pure preaching and the resistance to it by those who are inimical to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. – The Editors]
The Vaisnava acaryas are not fearful of preaching the Truth even at the cost of their own life, nor, by staying exclusively submerged in the bliss of their own bhajana, do they remain indifferent to the eternal welfare of any soul, even one who is averse to Sri Krsna. Rather, they follow the footsteps of Sri Gaurasundara, who descended to spread and teach us the substance of His own bhajana. Hence, the Vaisnava acaryas display their activities to the inhabitants of this world just to bring about their eternal benefit, interacting with them in a natural way. But seeing this, ordinary, antagonistic people, who have envious and critical vision, perceive Vaisnava acaryas in a degraded way.
When the society comprised of the antagonists of Sri Visnu commit atrocities against each and every preacher of the Truth, ordinary people see or hear about such atrocities.
There is a deep reason for using the term ‘ordinary people’ in this context. Ravana set out to steal svarupa-sakti Sita, but in fact he could not even touch her. The person ordinary people saw him steal was in reality Maya Sita. In the same manner, it is not even possible for Visnu and the Vaisnavas, who are beyond the material creation, to be touched by the envious atrocities of worldly people.
The child Prahlada was the son of the demon king, Hiranyakasipu. Although he was actually a Visnu bhakta, as long as he had not started preaching about the Absolute Truth, he remained the apple of his father’s eye, and the beloved prince of the whole demon society. As the necklace that adorned their necks and the treasure that graced their hearts, he was the object of everyone’s respect, care, affection, parental love, praise and admiration.
Yet, from the day Prahlada opened his mouth in front of the king of demons and began preaching about the Absolute Truth, more and more people became his enemy. He had begun preaching about one-pointed devotion to Visnu; about how essential it is to perform hari-bhajana by renouncing one’s ties to household life; about the fallacy of kula-gurus*, who are completely infatuated with their families; and about the importance of serving the paramahamsa clan (the topmost swan-like devotees). And he had begun preaching to the young sons of the demons, his peers in school, about the absolute necessity of performing hari-bhajana after rejecting the association of their demon families, who had all accepted the vows of household life. From that time on, more and more demons turned against him.
* So-called gurus who maintain their disciplic succession solely through heredity.
In the jiva’s conditioned state, he is enamoured by the very deep illusory relationship that exists between father and son. Under the spell of that illusory relationship, a father sees his ugly, drab son as beautiful as pure shining gold, he thinks his blind son has lotus eyes, and he considers even the most disgraceful son to be the ornament of the entire dynasty. Thus, in the deluded vision of the father, a son’s thousand faults are seen as a thousand good qualities. Yet as soon as Prahlada started preaching about the Absolute Truth, even his beloved father, Hiranyakasipu, what to speak of others, considered this simple act such a great fault that he made thousands of attempts to murder his own son, he who had been more dear to him than his own soul.
In the history of this world, can we find any example where, out of extreme selfishness, a father has tried to kill his small son, a son more dear to him than his own life, a son who had not yet learned to disrespect his father in any way, either because of the temptation of a woman or because of greed for the throne, like the Muslim king Aurangzeb? Would any father throw such a tender five year old boy under the feet of a frenzied elephant hoping to see him crushed and killed; or feed him poison, throw him from the top of a cliff, or even attempt to burn him alive in a blazing fire?
Prahlada’s only ‘fault’ was that he began preaching about the Absolute Truth. If, in preaching the Truth, even a father can become the enemy of his own son, is there anything surprising if those who are adverse to the Absolute Truth and prone to selfishness deem the expounders of Reality their enemies? Thus it is seen that even in Satya-yuga, when all four legs of religion were intact, a father did not hesitate to commit such atrocities against his own son, regarding him as an enemy, simply because he was a preacher of the Absolute Truth.
Even the heart of a father, which was filled with innate paternal affection, could become cruel towards the son who was a preacher of Truth! How blessed is the power of animosity to Visnu! It makes the impossible possible by turning the innate parental affection a loving father feels for his own son into severe cruelty and animosity, simply for speaking the Absolute Truth.
From the tips of their toenails to the tops of their scalps, the living entities in the material world are so averse to Sri Visnu that they absolutely refuse to hear the Truth – that is, about the transcendental features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. They avoid the Truth as if they had made a solemn vow of aversion to Krsna, or as if it were the irrevocable dictate of their true nature.
If such a poignant example of disdain for the Truth and atrocities against the preachers of the Truth can even be seen in Satya-yuga, then is it at all surprising if in this age of Kali, the time of argument and dispute, we encounter widespread indifference to the Truth and hundreds of varieties of antagonistic ventures against the preachers of the Truth?
Whenever the Vaisnava acaryas begin preaching the Truth, inimical people, who are in the majority in this world, vow to destroy themselves by battling the propagation of Truth. But the acaryas feel so much distress upon seeing the suffering of others that, despite all opposition, these great personalities unceasingly and increasingly distribute their amandodaya-daya.
Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Four Vaisnava Acaryas and Gaudiya Darsana
by Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Originally published in Bengali in Gaudiya (weekly); Year 6, Issue 2, August 1927
Excerpt from “The Unparalleled Speciality of the Vaisnava Acaryas (part one)”
CC-BY-SA Rays of The Harmonist – “Krsna is Only Hungry for Love”, Issue 22 (Kartika